Notes on Energy Group Meeting on 15th September 2015

Present: Bertil, Steve, Jon, David, Barry

How to move forward with helping community centres in the town?

Jon outlined the SHIRE grants and Western Power Distribution grants administered by CSE. One issue is that decisions about these in the community centres often has to go through boards of trustees, management committees, etc. David pointed out that Rosebery St Peters board are currently looking at funding sources for purchasing a long lease. This is similar to other centres that have complicated, and in some cases precarious, rental and lease deals on their buildings.

Jon suggested that we provide information to community centre managers on available grants. Steve said that this was probably as much as we can do in the current climate.

ACTION: Jon to build a list of community centre managers to distribute this information to.

ACTION: All to provide information on grants for community building energy efficiency grants and schemes to Jon for him to pass on to local managers.

The upcoming second Green Fox share offer in Leicestershire

Jon explained that Green Fox are planning a second share offer to convert a second oil fired boiler at John Cleveland College in Hinckley to be sustainably wood fired. Not public offer yet but first share offer members have had emails asking if they would be interested. Worth keeping an eye on if people are interested in community energy schemes in the county.

Polluted neighbouring cities, buses and electricification

Bertil explained that Nottingham are being targeted, along with Derby and four other UK cities for “low emissions zone” to try to tackle poor air quality. Nottingham are thus trying to have more electric cars, electric & hybrid buses, and are soon to have more electric buses than any other city in Europe. The down side is that the dirtier old diesel buses from Nottingham may end up being relocated to Leicester & Leicestershire where this is no such low emission zone. Exhaust output from lots of buses in concentrated urban environments is providing to be a major contribution to pollution in city centres.

Bertil said there are t-shirts promoting the electrification of the Midland Mainline railway line being produced for Healthy Air Leicester and Leicestershire (of which Bertil is a member!). Electrification on the line is currently on hold after a post-election change of plan by the Government on funding it.

Update on the Big Energy Race

Jon said he’d contacted the Big Energy Race to find out about plans for the second competition, but not heard back from them. We can’t plan how we’re going to get people involved and what we need to do to promote it until we have more details (assuming a second competition actually happens of course – we don’t even know if they’ve got funding for it).

Sharing news of local renewable energy schemes and plans

David said two of the closest wind turbine plans have been refused by planning authorities and have gone to appeal. If central government get involved it doesn’t look hopeful for them at the moment though. There is a solar farm plan south of Nottingham Road spread over fields between the river and the Midland Mainline. That’s in Charnwood Borough Council’s planning process now.

Barry said that there has been an announcement recently to move power lines away from pylons and underground in areas of natural beauty.

What events should we plan to do next year? Open Homes? Energy Efficiency workshops? Landlords workshops? Something else?

Steve said that we have to be careful not to over stretch ourselves and we often see the same people at multiple events. We don’t want them to burn out. Steve suggested that we consider looking at building an Energy Descent Plan, for which we could gather ideas at other events that TL is already holding or taking part in. Jon said he could dredge up some of the early energy descent plans that we started working on some years ago – worth bring to next meeting to pull apart and rework?

Barry suggested that we look at UN Development Goals and examine how they might relate to our local area. This could connect our local actions to the more global plans. Jon said this could tie in nicely with the media interest likely in the international COP21 meetings in Paris in December.

It was asked if we could run an event were we present the UN Goals, some basic facts about energy use/efficiency/etc in Charnwood and then open the floor to ideas from those present as to how we could help meet the development goals locally? The results of this can then be widely publicised, inform our future actions/projects and also be given to local firms, councils, etc as examples of what people would like to see done.

Energy group’s contribution to the Green Impact event at the Council offices on October 1st

Steve and Sue are attending the launch of Green Impact for staff of Charnwood Borough Council (CBC) on 1st October noon to 2pm. Steve would like to have information about projects we’ve done in the past in Transition Loughborough (possibly a folder full of the posters and leaflets we created to promote them?), talk about Energy Descent plans and then suggest the meeting described in the previous section as a way to involve local people and improve their understanding of the issues. Steve said this is more of a “poster session” than a sit down presentation, and council staff will most likely drift in and out during the two hours.

Barry asked how we could get the CBC sustainability officer working with the University’s sustainability team? Steve said he’d contact Maria French to see if she’s aware of the University’s sustainability team. We talked about some of the issues with getting large organisations like the council and University to think on the longer time scales that renewables and energy efficiency investments often require.

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